S'pore Red Cross sends aid to East Africa drought victims

A young girl on March 21 passing a jerrycan filled with murky water trickling from underground rocks to others waiting above the watering hole in Turkana county in Kenya, where a biting drought has ravaged the livestock population and the nation's fo
A young girl on March 21 passing a jerrycan filled with murky water trickling from underground rocks to others waiting above the watering hole in Turkana county in Kenya, where a biting drought has ravaged the livestock population and the nation's food security.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has contributed $85,000 in relief to Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia in response to the severe drought that has been plaguing countries of the Horn of Africa.

The sum was handed over to local partners - Kenyan Red Cross, Ethiopian Red Crescent and the Somali Red Crescent - which will then channel it towards supporting food-security and livelihood initiatives, and procuring food and hygiene supplies for the millions affected.

"Droughts in the Horn of Africa have been increasing in severity and frequency, and aggravated by desertification, land degradation and climate change. From all the reports, conditions are worrying across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, northern and coastal Kenya and almost all of Somalia.

"Our Red Cross partners are looking to help an estimated 1.45 million people in these countries through their relief efforts," said Mr Benjamin William, secretary-general-cum-chief executive of the SRC.

The sum will be channelled towards the following causes:

•Kenya: Supporting food-security and livelihood initiatives and helping Kenya Red Cross' disaster response in the procurement and distribution of meat and seeds;

•Ethiopia: Funding projects targeting improvement in health, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood, nutrition and food security to support more than 300,000 people for nine months;

•Somalia: Contributing food baskets to 77,352 individuals living in Bari, Nugaal, Mudug, Sool and Sanaag. Each 25kg food basket comprises maize, flour, sugar, vegetables such as dried beans and peas, and 3 litres of vegetable oil. They are estimated to meet the needs of a family of six for at least a month.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is working with the Kenyan Red Cross, Ethiopian Red Crescent and the Somali Red Crescent to support affected communities and need more support in the areas of health, nutrition, livelihood and water sanitation.

The prolonged drought crisis is a result of the La Nina weather phenomenon.

According to the United Nations, 12.8 million people in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Somalia are severely food insecure and are in need of humanitarian assistance. It is the third consecutive year of drought in the region.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore Red Cross sends aid to East Africa drought victims'. Print Edition | Subscribe